The Christmas the Lights Went Out
I Was All Alone ...
Guy Domville finished his beer and walked out of the hot, smoky pub into the cold night air. He thought about getting a taxi home, but knew it would be difficult to find one at this time of the evening, especially on Christmas Eve. Anyway, because it was a clear, crisp night, he thought he would enjoy the walk home. It was late, and dark, and cold. There weren't many people on the streets. A man came walking towards him. The man was only wearing a T-shirt. He looked like he was freezing cold.
Are you all right? Guy asked the man.
I'm freezing, the man replied. Guy took off his coat, and gave it to the man.
There you go! said Guy. The man looked very surprised, but took the coat, put it on and went on his way.
Thanks! he shouted as he left. Now it was Guy who was freezing. He had no idea why he had just decided to give his coat to a complete stranger, perhaps because it was nearly Christmas. Perhaps it was because Guy hadn't given presents to anyone else this Christmas. Perhaps it was because this year he had no one to give any presents to.
I Was Missing You, Dad ...
Leila came out of church into the night. It was much colder than she expected. Every other time she had been to stay with her grandmother it had been very hot. She had no idea it could get so cold out here in Damascus, out here on the edge of the desert. That was OK though. She didn't think that Christmas in a hot place would seem right somehow. Christmas had always been cold for her. She was happy to be here in such a beautiful place, with her mother and her grandmother. It was a shame her father wasn't here, but she hadn't heard from him in months now.
I Was Working Extra Hours Bored and Tired ...
Rudolf Lenk was bored, very bored. It was Christmas Eve, and he was stuck in an office, surrounded by computers, completely on his own. Rudolf could think of nothing more boring than this. It was only boredom, thought Rudolf later, that made him do the stupid thing he decided to do.
Rudolf Lenk pulled a plug out. It was only a little plug. It wasn't even hard to pull it out. That was all he did. And then, Rudolf Lenk watched the lights go out. At first he watched the lights go out in the office where he was. Then he looked out of the window and watched all the lights go out in the town where he was. And then he imagined what was happening.
All across the world, one by one ... the lights were going out.
No One Would Light a Candle for Me ...
It was completely quiet on the streets outside. Guy thought it was strange. Usually these streets were full of busy people. Now they were completely empty. The snow that had fallen looked like a carpet. Outside looked like inside. Walking home, lost in his thoughts and the snow, Guy hardly noticed that all the streetlights had gone out. The darkness around him was the same as the darkness he felt inside him.
Sometimes he could see into the windows of the houses that he passed. Most of the houses were dark, but some people had lit candles. The candles looked beautiful, he thought. They made the people's houses look warm and friendly and cozy.
Guy felt sad that he was now going back to a house where no one had lit any candles. He didn't want to go home. His flat was empty. It would be the first Christmas without his daughter and his ex-wife. He thought about how hot it would be where they were, and wondered what Christmas would be like for them. He hadn't spoken to his daughter in over three months.
He thought about how his wife always said he worked too much, that he never took time to do the simple things in life. Now here he was, walking along the streets where he usually went to work, doing nothing. He decided that he would leave his job with GlobalPower in January. He wanted to walk these strange empty streets forever, or at least until he could see his daughter again.
I Was Waiting for You, Dad ...
Leila looked up at the night sky so full of stars. She thought she had never seen so many stars in the sky when she lived in London. She walked with her mother along the narrow streets of the Christian quarter of old Damascus, all decorated for Christmas, and lit now with candles. She was happy here with her mother and grandmother, but she still missed her father, even though he hadn't called.
Rudolf Lenk realized what he had done with a shock. He put the plug back in its socket. He hoped nobody would have noticed what he had done.
And very, very slowly, one by one, the lights across the world came back on again.
Like a breath at first, like a tiny whisper which nobody could hear but which grew and grew and grew, like the first ripple out in the sea which would become a gigantic wave, like the spark which lights a candle which can start a fire, like the first falling snowflake of a giant storm, like the first star which appears in the night sky and makes enough light for you to be able to see another, and then another, and another and more and more until the whole sky which covers the whole world is hung with starry, illuminated fruit, light connected to light until at midnight, the darkest point of the night, the whole world was full of bright light.
最初，如同一丝气息，就像没人能听清但却变得越来越响的低声耳语，就像会变成滔天巨浪的大海涟漪，就像可以燃起熊熊大火的用来点亮蜡烛的星星之火，就像一场暴风雪开始时飘落的第一片雪花， 就像夜空中出现的第一颗星星，它的光亮足够让人们看到一颗又一颗更多的星星，直到整个世界的夜空都繁星点点，如同发光的累累果 实，灯一盏接一盏地亮了，直到午夜全世界夜色最浓的角落也洒满了明亮的灯光。
Speak Out Your Love!
Guy was looking for a tiny piece of paper he remembered having put in his pocket months ago. It was so dark out here that he couldn't see anything. His hands were so cold that it was difficult to find anything in his pockets.
Then, suddenly, everything became light. He realized that he was standing under a streetlight that had just come on again. He found the tiny piece of paper in his wallet with a long number written on it. The number had faded, but he could still read it. He found some one-pound coins in his other pocket. He found a phone box, but the phone didn't work. He walked some more until he found another phone box. He picked up the telephone receiver and heard the bleeping sound. It worked. He put the money in and began to dial the number.
I Love You, Dad!
Back at home in their flat with her mother and her grandmother, and all the other Syrian branch of her Anglo-Arabic family, Leila heard the old phone ringing. Who would be calling at this time of night? She ran across the room to answer it.
Choose Your Own Way!
Rudolf Lenk was writing a note on a piece of paper. He addressed the note to his boss at GlobalPower and left it on his desk. "Yes, it was me," he wrote, "And no, I don't want my job anymore. Oh, and by the way, happy Christmas!"